Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:50 AM
NHL Best Bets, Score Predictions for Saturday Apr. 10
NHL Daily Free Picks & Predictions
VegasInsider.com NHL expert Matt Blunt provides his score predictions and best bets for one NHL game on Saturday, Apr. 10, 2021.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Nashville Predators
- Money-Line Odds: Tampa Bay -180; Nashville +155
- Total (Over-Under): 5.5
Score Prediction: Tampa Bay 4 Nashville 2
Best Bet: Lightning ML
Nashville backers have done really well lately, as the Predators have won nine of 10 overall, a run that includes four wins as underdogs. The home underdog role tonight will attract some support because of this run that Nashville's on, but there are cases where the schedule deserves much more credit than it gets for good and bad streaks for teams.
Take a deeper look on how this 9-1 SU run has been built for Nashville and they might have a rude awakening awaiting them here against the defending champs.
Now you can't take anything away from any 9-1 SU run as all any team can do is play the teams that are on the schedule. But it was a 4-3 shootout win as +160 underdogs in Dallas that started this run, and the Stars are far from the team they were a year ago. From there Nashville swept two-game sets with Detroit and Nashville, split two more with the Stars, and then added another win over Chicago and two more victories over Detroit.
But what that schedule means is that there haven't been any games against the three teams that are ahead of Nashville in the Central Division standings, and ahead by a lot. Florida, Tampa Bay, and Carolina enter Saturday all leading Nashville by at least 11 points in those standings.
Eventually the schedule evens out and we will see how this run for the Predators continues with Tampa, Dallas, Tampa, at Carolina, at Carolina coming up next. Feels like the time to sell at least something on this Nashville's run is probably coming pretty soon.
When that's going to be part of the thought process, it's not a bad option to be backing the defending champs in that spot either. Tampa has outscored the Predators 10-2 in the two games they've played in Nashville, and own a 5-1 SU record against them overall.
A 5-5 SU run in the last 10 for the Lightning has seen Tampa run into a few hot goalies and a few lazy efforts at times, but Nashville will get their attention.
First place still is going to mean quite a bit in this division as the winner will likely get this Nashville team (or Chicago) in the opening round of the playoffs, and all three of them (Tampa, Carolina, Florida) would prefer that option over battling out in the 2 vs 3 matchup. Tampa's still got a huge edge in xGF/60 at 2.91 to 2.44 overall on top of all the other easy arguments to make as them being the better team.
Going with the regulation line is probably the better choice compared to the -1.5 PL for those that don't want to lay that much of a price too. Nashville's still got plenty of confidence right now and that can be a hard hurdle to want to completely go against, even with four of the five wins for Tampa in this rivalry being by multiple goals.
If Nashville finds a way to keep this streak going here I've got no problem tipping my hat, but that's too long of a stretch of games without seeing real quality competition for me to not want to fade most teams in that role.